The German Rhenus Group has re-equipped two canal push boats operated by Deutsche Binnenreederei (DBR) with engines meeting EU stage V emission standards.
This measure is one of several being introduced as part of the process of comprehensively re-equipping the entire fleet with the latest generation of engines. While the new construction of more sustainable hydrogen-powered vessels is a long-term project, the Rhenus Group is retrofitting older vessels with more modern and therefore more environmentally-friendly technology in the short term. The two canal push boats, RSPSB146 and RSPSB153, which were built in the 1970s, are the first to undergo this process.
It has taken about 10 months to convert the two vessels. The old engines have been replaced with modern diesel generators manufactured by SCANIA and Caterpillar; being based on truck engines, also certified for use on board inland waterway vessels, they operate with stage 5 exhaust gas treatment and ensure that particles, which damage the environment, are no longer able to make their way into the air. This means that Rhenus is achieving a reduction in pollution caused by particulate matter of as much as 40%. The engines have a rating of 740kW, which represents a tripling of the performance of the former units. The engine room has been completely gutted and refurbished to create space for the significantly larger engines. All the old pumps, electronic equipment and subassemblies have given way to the latest electronics and a modern control cabinet. The new engine is encapsulated in a Silence Pack enclosure and operates very quietly, so that the crew on board can rest at night. A new power train with thrust bearings and shaft seals has been added and the rudder hydraulics has been thoroughly updated. The two vessels will continue to operate on the eastern German inland waterways.
Thomas Kaulbach, MD Rhenus PartnerShip said: “Most of the vessels operated by German inland waterway companies are between 30 and 50 years old. This applies to ours too. Scrapping them makes absolutely no sense at all, particularly as it is so simple to refit them in a suitable manner. That’s exactly what we’re seeking to do with our programme entitled German inland waterway shipping – evolving for the future.”
Earlier in 2023, Rhenus presented the first flagships of a new, low-emission fleet generation to provide sustainable inland waterway shipping in future. The push-barge combinations operate reliably with a hydrogen-powered drive train and electric batteries, even in a strong current. Rhenus is continuing to develop its short-sea fleet. Rhenus and Arkon Shipping have jointly designed five new coastal vessels. Rhenus promises to make the issue of sustainability a high priority at all times in its shipping transport operations.